WASHINGTON – The National Chicken Council announced Mike Helgeson, CEO of St. Cloud, Minn.-based GNP Company, was elected 2013-2014 chairman of the organization during the NCC's board of directors meeting.

Helgeson joined GNP Company (formerly Gold'n Plump Poultry) in 1974. He has since worked in various positions within the company, including new products manager in the sales and marketing division; project manager in the broiler division; personnel manager at the Cold Spring, Minn., processing plant; and purchasing/elevator manager in the feed and grain division. He became CEO of the company in 1993.

Helgeson has a Bachelor of Science degree in business from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minn., and an MBA from the Univ. of St. Thomas, Kotz Graduate School of Management.

"It's a great honor to serve as the incoming chair for the National Chicken Council, and I look forward to serving the chicken industry in the upcoming year," Helgeson said. "Ours is a vibrant and dynamic industry, one with great opportunities as well as ongoing challenges. As I take the gavel today, I'm optimistic that we'll continue to step-up to not only meet but exceed the challenges and opportunities the next year will bring us."

Jerry Lane, president of Claxton Poultry in Claxton, Ga., was elected vice chairman for 2013-2014. Lane brings 34 years of experience in Georgia's poultry industry to the post. He has worked for Claxton Poultry since 1985, serving as general manager and vice president. He was named president in 1997.

Todd Simmons, who is new to the NCC officer corps, takes over as secretary-treasurer. He is CEO of Simmons Foods and affiliates with headquarters in Siloam Springs, Ark. He joined the company in 1994 after he graduated from Georgetown Univ. Most recently Simmons was promoted to CEO and vice chairman in January after having served as COO of both the Poultry and Pet Food divisions for the previous three years.

Mike Brown was elected to a third term as president of NCC.